When the Houston Rockets picked Auburn Jabbar Smith Jr. in the third round of the NBA Draft on Thursday, he continued the basketball tradition as a family legacy.
His father, also Jabar Smith, played in the NBA in the early 2000s.
“My father just told me it was time to step up a bit, it’s time to work even harder,” Jabar Smith Jr. said of his father’s reaction to the draft. “This is a new level, a whole new game. I’m just trying to get there and start working.”
For NBA players, having a parent or relationship with someone who played in the NBA or WNBA is not particularly unusual. And many players who are not related to someone who played professionally have parents who played college basketball.
Last season, 30 second-generation players appeared in at least one NBA game – a total of 5 percent of the league, and almost twice as many players as about two decades ago.
Smith was one of the few players to be drafted this year whose father had NBA experience. Among them was Johnny Davis of the University of Wisconsin, who was named No. 10 by the Washington Wizards. His father is Mark Davis, who played in the NBA shortly after the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him in 1985. There was also Duke Age Griffin. No. 16 of the Atlanta Hawks. His father is Adrian Griffin, who played in the NBA from 1999 to 2008 and has since been an assistant coach in the NBA. Second was Colorado’s Jabbar Walker, the Portland Trail Blazers’ son-in-law of Samak, a late second-round pick. Walker, who played in the NBA for a decade and won the championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.
WNBA connections can also be found among the best choices. Ronda Smith-Banchero, the mother of number one choice, Paolo Banchero, who played in the WNBA Banchero, compiled by the Orlando Magic, said her mother “was on me, always giving me responsibility and making sure I was in the game. The right way. “The Detroit Pistons chose Perdus Jayden Ivy as their fifth choice. His mother, Nile Ivy, played in the WNBA and was an assistant coach to the Memphis Grizzlies. She is now the coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team.
“It’s really amazing to have a mom who’s in the league,” said Jayden Ivy. “You do not see many such stories, and the connection we have is special. I thank him for everything he has done for me. I know I would not be on this stage without him, I would not be here. “
Sometimes the connection with professional basketball players is not parental. In the middle of the first round, the Charlotte Hornets pulled Mark Williams out of the Duke. Her senior and Elizabeth Williams have been with the WNBA since 2015. In the second round, the Cavaliers selected Isaiah Mobley from the University of Southern California, which will be convenient for family visits because his brother, Evan Mobley, is already present. Team. (Brothers are common in the NBA: Lopez, Antetocumpos, Balls, and Holidays.)
In some cases there were well-known names who were not drawn up but still received contracts. Scott Pippen Jr., who played three seasons at Vanderbilt, is expected to sign a bilateral contract with the Lakers. His father, Scott Pippen, won six championships with the Chicago Bulls. Ron Harper Jr., a Rutgers alumnus whose father, Ron Harper, has won three championships with Pippen, is likely to offer a similar deal to the Toronto Raptors.
But while NBA father-son ties were highlighted in this year’s draft class, this phenomenon is nothing new. Consider the Golden State list, which featured four second-generation players during the Team Championship: Stephen Carey, Clay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Gary Peyton II.
And some of their father was front and center.
When Peyton played in the second game of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, he spotted his father, Gary Peyton, an all-time nine-star sitting on the court with Detlef Schrempff, one of his former teammates. Father and son made eye contact – no need to exchange words.
“He just nodded,” said Gary Peyton II. “I know this means time. You know, go to work. “
And as the final seconds of the Golden State Championship win in Game 6 drew to a close, Karim hugged his father, Del Carr, along one of the baselines. Stephen Curry burst into tears.
“I saw it and I lost it,” he said, adding that “I just wanted to get this moment because it was special.”
In fact, the NBA Finals offered the Smorgasbord of Generation Talent. Among the Celtics: Al Horford, whose father Tito Horford played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Bullets, and Grant Williams, whose cousins, Salim and Damon Studamir, both played in the NBA this season;
Players and coaches cited a number of factors for father-son couples to have a steady, decades-long background, ranging from genetics: obviously contributing to being tall. But many of the former players ’sons also benefited from an early introduction to the game, top-notch instructions from the time when they could start dribbling and various other benefits. For example, Stephen Carr and his younger brother, Seth Carr, who now plays for the Nets, had access to a full-length court in their family yard with full lighting.
But with certain privileges comes pressure – especially when you share a name with a famous father. Gary Peyton II recalled how his father learned to retreat when it came to basketball to help his son develop a passion for the game independently. They just stopped talking about the rings and it stayed that way.
“He really says nothing today,” said Gary Peyton II. We are just talking about life, family, other sports and more.
But sometimes it can lead to tensions such as Tim Hardaway Jr., the guard of the Dallas Mavericks and his father, Tim Hardaway, the five-time all-star who played from 1989 to 2003. They both spoke publicly about their relationship. Complicated by how hard senior Hardaway was about playing with his son.
It can also be a tension if your father is the coach, a situation that Austin Rivers faced when he was playing for his father, Doc Rivers, at the Los Angeles Clippers. Doc Rivers played in the league from 1983 to 1996 and is also the NBA’s Honored Head Coach. The younger rivers called it “bitter sweet.” Doc Rivers had his back as a father, but Austin Rivers told Ringer that “everything else, man, was hell” because it was embarrassing. With dynamic teammates.
A similar situation could happen again next season: the Knicks have hired Rick Brunson, a former NBA player, as an assistant coach, and are expected to target his son, Jelen Brunson, one of the best free agents, for a non-seasonal acquisition.
Of course, this may turn out well, as it did for Gary Peyton. Golden State won it all in Boston last week, in a matter of hours, she celebrated her son’s triumph by dancing in the corridors of TD Garden.